Lisa Hephner

360 Performance Review Templates & Instructions

Posted by in Small Business Hacks

When you first started your business, you probably had only a few trusted team members, and the feedback process was immediate, ongoing and informal. However, as your company grew (or grows) a formal review process became necessary—or depending on your viewpoint, a necessary evil.

Whether you chose to do formal reviews on anniversaries (likely making them a monthly chore), or at the end of each calendar or fiscal year (to get them all out of the way at once), there are things you can do to make them more valuable to both yourself and your employees, as well as things you can do to ensure they don’t create more problems than they solve.

The following resources provide a 360 degree peek into the performance appraisal process—covering viewpoints from the employer, the employee, and the humorist. If after digesting those you still need help with creating your review process, links to sources for performance review templates are provided at the end.

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Lisa Hephner

How Now Brown Cow: Three Small Business Lessons from the Milk Survey

Posted by in Tip of the Week


You’ve probably seen the headlines: Survey finds that 7% of American adults think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. If you are now sitting and pondering the overwhelming ignorance of 7% of your fellow citizens, remember that as a small business owner these are your customers—so rather than laughing at them, you need to understand them and you need to learn how to reach them, market to them, and serve them. The Milk Survey provides some valuable lessons that will help you do just that.

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Amanda Vrbas

Why Small Businesses Need to Make Tracking and Reporting a Priority

Posted by in Customer Experience

An Interview with PaySimple’s Director of Customer Success:

Amanda Vrbas is the Director of Customer Success at PaySimple, where she leads a team of passionate business growth advocates. The Customer Success team at PaySimple helps businesses improve processes, save time and grow their businesses every day with one-on-one coaching and support. Outside of work, Amanda is passionate about her tiny house in the mountains of Colorado and anything pertaining to the sunshine in the Rockies.

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Lisa Hephner

How to Make a Small Business Employee Handbook

Posted by in Tip of the Week

When you first started your business you were likely the only employee, and were focused on doing the work necessary to get and keep satisfied customers and to grow your business. As your business did start to grow, you probably needed help and hired people to fill your gaps on a full or part time basis. With only a couple of employees, it was easy to keep things such as sick time, vacations, and workplace conduct informally regulated. However, there comes a point where even in the most friendly, family-oriented work environment, things need to be put in writing—even if only to be sure that everyone is on the same page regarding expectations and consequences.

The best way to do this is with an Employee Handbook. It can be as simple as a one-sheet set of rules that outline what you expect of your employees in terms of their work practices, office behavior, and treatment of customers and the consequences for non-adherence. The Business Owners Tool Kit provides a sample work rules sheet that you can download here. (You’ll need to provide an email address to register and download the form.) For an overview of what to consider when creating these rules, read their General Work Rules overview.

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Erik Dolan-Del Vecchio

5 Reasons Small Businesses Should Partner With A Charity

Posted by in Small Business Hacks

Partner with a Charity

For many small businesses, the decision to partner with a charity may seem outlandish. After all, they’re focused on growing margins, attracting talent and building their business. When sales are precious and revenue growth is critical, it seems counterintuitive to partner with a charity. But on top of supporting something you and your customers believe in, many small businesses find that partnering with a charity expands marketing opportunities, helps the company better connect with customers and creates important networking opportunities.

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Lisa Hephner

Small Business Tips for Dealing with Robocalls and Other Unwanted Callers

Posted by in Tip of the Week


If it seems like these calls are getting more persistent and more frequent, you’re not growing increasingly intolerant; you’re right. According to the YouMail Robocall Index, 1.3 billion robocalls were placed in the US in June 2015 and 2.5 billion calls placed in April, 2017—that’s almost double!

Don’t sit back and take the call, learn how to fight back. Use these tips to unmask these callers, block them, or just turn the tables, mess with them, and laugh.

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